Looking back at the NMI men's first international soccer victory

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IN July 2014, the NMI Men's National Soccer Team earned its first ever international victory by besting Macau, 2-1, in round one of the East Asia Football Federation East Asian Cup.

In episode two of “Footcast with Norman Del Rosario,” the special guests are some of the members of that team — Trey Dunn, Lucas Knecht, Bo Barry, JJ Takano, and Kirk Schuler — who shared memories of their monumental feat.

"It was a dogfight!" Knecht said. The NMI was more of a defense-focused team and it showed during its match against Macau, he added.

"I remember how tough that game was,” Dunn said. “But it was also the first game I ever played where we kept the possession for more than just one pass."

The NMI Men's National Team members celebrate after Kirk Schuler's game-winning goal against Macau in the 2014 East Asian Football Federation East Asia Cup. Contributed photo 

The NMI was the first to draw blood with Nick Swaim completing the head in the first half. Macau returned the favor to even the score, but the NMI worked harder in the second half as Schuler added the finishing touch with a second header to pull off an upset victory.

Teamwork and proper coaching were key factors, Bo Barry said. Their coach's decision to rest players after minor injuries was vital and so was the constant communication among the teammates.

"The coaching staff was great and the motivation was the second wind we needed," Barry added.

Takano, who assisted in securing the NMI's second goal, said it “was a very memorable moment — we had only two opportunities to score and we made it happen. That was unbelievable.”

Schuler said the NMI had old and young players who, as a whole, really came together as a team. “Certainly in the last 10 minutes of the game everyone realized how special that game was,” he added. “You can work that hard and not have the results that we got. I have never been more tired or more deserving. It felt like survival mode. The [NMI Football Association] needed a signature victory.”


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